197 Pounds! Record Alligator Gar Was 60 Years Old

197 Pounds! Record Alligator Gar Was 60 Years Old
Isaac Avery's Brazos River-record alligator gar was caught Sept. 9 (© Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

The recently caught Brazos River record alligator gar wasn't the biggest ever caught in Texas, but it's likely one of the oldest.

Texas wildlife officials say a new alligator gar bowfishing record on the Brazos River was likely hatched in 1957.

That makes the 197-pound, 7.39-foot fish caught Sept. 9 by Isaac Avery of Longview, Texas, around 60 years old  —  among the oldest fish aged and documented by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department research biologists.

alligator gar
Isaac Avery's Brazos River-record alligator gar was caught Sept. 9 (© Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)


The fish, which beat the previous record by 4 pounds, also was found to have been tagged by TPWD researchers in 2012, the agency said in a news release.


"I tagged this fish near Tawakoni Creek, a large Brazos River tributary just down from Waco, back in March 2012 while doing a mark-recapture study," TPWD Inland Fisheries district biologist Michael Baird said in the news release. "It appears she hadn't moved much since we tagged her in 2012, and she grew approximately 65 mm (2.55 inches) since tagging."


The record-breaker was officially weighed at the Brazos Feed and Supply Store.

The Texas agency said the fish was aged using the fish's otoliths (bony structures from the inner ear), which have growth rings much like a tree.

alligator gar
Bony structures from the gar's inner ear — called otoliths — were used to determine its age. (© Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)


"We aged the fish at 60, which indicates it hatched in 1957," said research biologist David Buckmeier. "I looked at the gauge data from Waco around that time and sure enough there was a huge flood from April to July in 1957. What we've seen is that fish over the age of 50 typically come from times when these huge flood pulses occurred, and those events likely create giant year classes of these fish."

Buckmeier said alligator gar typically do not spawn every year but prefer spawning habitat created by seasonal inundation of low-lying areas of vegetation — like the floods of 1957.

As big as Avery's fish was, it was still far from the state record bow-fished alligator gar — an 8-footer weighing 290 pounds caught in the Trinity River in 2001. The world record, caught in Mississippi, weighed 327 pounds.


Read more about this story

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of defense is insect repellent with DEET to keep chiggers at bay. But when you do get a few chigger bites, use Chigarid to treat them. Hunting How-To

How to Treat Chigger Bites

Lynn Burkhead

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

MLF Pros: What

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

We all have our Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper - April 02, 2015

We all have our "swear by" bait for catfish. For me, it is chicken liver, live shad or my...

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

 A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest.

Although the art Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

See More Stories

More Other Freshwater

Muskies hunt baitfish with great aggression as temperatures cool in the fall. Make the most of this treasured time. Other Freshwater

The Baitfish Connection for Fall Muskies

Joel Nelson - October 03, 2019

Muskies hunt baitfish with great aggression as temperatures cool in the fall. Make the most of...

There is no greater fish that swims than the mighty muskellunge. Other Freshwater

Fall Muskies On Live Suckers

October 10, 2018

There is no greater fish that swims than the mighty muskellunge.

A bow has to work with an individual in fit and performance, and if it doesn't, the whole process suffers. Stories

Carp Busting: Quality Gear is Key to Your Best Bowfishing

Tony J. Peterson

Sponsored By
AMS Hooligan Bowfishing

See More Other Freshwater

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.